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Cathy Stones Counselling, Person Centred Counselling, Lincoln and Louth
Counselling in Lincoln and Louth

Person Centred Counselling

What Is Person Centred Counselling? How Does It Help?

What is Person Centred Counselling?

None of us are exactly the same.  Everyone’s mind works in their own individual way. From their personality to how they process information, and their perception of themselves and the world around them.  This is why there is such a variety in theory and approaches to counselling and therapy. What works for one person, won't work for another. We are unique.

The American psychologist Carl Rogers founded Person-Centred Therapy in the 1940s.  He believed that humans are born with the ability to develop their true potential, however this ability could sometimes become blocked or disoriented by life experiences and influences, especially when they impact our sense of value.

He wanted a person-centred approach for counselling that focused on the clients' experience of themselves, as opposed to a counsellor forcing their expertise and telling them what to do, or what was wrong with them.  When the client feels valued and accepted in therapy, they can begin to understand, value and accept themselves.  This process can help them to reconnect with their own core values and sense of self-worth, following their own path to growth and develop their individual potential.  The term for achieving this is known as 'to self-actualise'.

Providing Counselling and Therapy Services in Lincoln and in Louth.

Key Concepts and Principles of Person-Centred Counselling

For this method to work, there needs to be a safe environment set, because the client, not the counsellor, leads it. Emotional and physical threat needs to be removed for raw openness, comfort and personal growth.

Therefore, there are key concepts and principles which encourage conditions believed to help achieve this environment, particularly in the therapy room.

These three key concepts in person-centred counselling are:

  1. Empathic understanding: the counsellor trying to understand the client’s point of view

  2. Congruence: the counsellor being a genuine person

  3. Unconditional positive regard: the counsellor being non-judgemental

What is Person-Centred Counselling Used For?

Person-centred counselling is better suited for clients who prefer the freedom of talking about their problems in a supportive and facilitative environment. Rather than follow a more directive, structured approach with specific techniques.

It is ideal for individuals who are motivated by self-discovery and work towards solving their issues.

During a person-centred counselling session, the person-centred therapist will encourage clients to bring their own issues to the session. Here, the client leads the entire counselling session, instead of the counsellor.

Person-centred counselling is a flexible form of therapy, because of its individualistic approach. Therefore, it’s used to treat several issues or conditions like:

Advantages of Person-Centred Counselling

By offering a safe, comforting environment, the person-centred counselling model empowers clients. They can understand how their experiences have affected the way they feel about themselves and take the steps towards positive change.

Here are some of the unique benefits that person centred counselling offers over other models.

  • A better understanding of their idealised self and actual self.

  • Achieve better self-understanding and awareness.

  • Release feelings of defensiveness, insecurity and guilt.

  • Have a greater ability to trust oneself.

  • Develop healthier relationships.

  • See improvement in self-expression.

  • Encourages the client to think in the present time.

Counselling in Lincoln and Louth

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Using Egans 3-Stage Model

Exploring Skills

(Egan Stage I Introduction)


Exploring the client's Existing Situation The stage one skills of the Egan Helping Model are based upon the exploration of the client’s situation and they basically correlate with the Rogerian counselling skills of the Person Centred Approach. The purpose of Stage I is to build a nonthreatening counselling relationship and help the client explore their situation and then focus on chosen issues. In this stage the Skilled Helper helps the client to identify and clarify problems and opportunities and assess their resources. Clients are often reluctant or resistant at this stage, therefore the therapist helps them to explore new perspectives, challenges negative modes of thinking and constructively challenges the client's excuses, evasiveness, distortions and negative self-statements. This stage is based around helping the client in establishing priorities and developing action plans that put into practice productive strategies.


Stage I exploring skills include:


Open-ended questions




Paraphrasing & Reflecting


Paraphrasing & Reflecting




Understanding Skills

(Egan Stage II Introduction)


Helping the Client Establish Aims and Goals The purpose of Stage II is to help facilitate the client in developing a more in-depth and objective understanding of their situation. This stage is enacted as the Skilled Helper assists the client in exploring options and possible goals. The Skilled Helper establishes what the client really wants and needs and the client is encouraged to consider new possibilities and perspectives, choosing ones that are realistic, consistent with their values and for which there are adequate incentives. The Skilled Helper facilitates the client in developing rational decision-making based upon healthy data collection, analysis and action planning. In this state brain-storming, divergent thinking, a balance-sheet approach and force-field analysis may be used with the client in order to facilitate choices between different ways of dealing with situations and achieving goals. These techniques help the client to explore various options and strategies as well understand and work around blocking factors with facilitating factors.


Stage II understanding skills include:


Recognising Patterns & Themes

Alternate Frames of Reference




Timing & Pacing

Advanced empathy

Acting Skills

(Egan Stage III Introduction)


Help the Client to Develop Strategies Stage III skills are assist clients to take appropriate action by defining goals, changing ways of relating and working through issues using problem solving or decision making methods, while providing support and encouragement. Stage III skills help the client to cope with current problems and assist in the learning of new skills that will enable them to live more effectively in the future. Action is based on exploration and understanding gained by using stage I & II skills. In stage III the Skilled Helper facilitates the client in finding ways of achieving their goals. After helping the client to come up with as many strategies as they can the Skilled Helper then helps them to focus upon those that are viable in terms of client situation, needs, aspiration and resources. This process is designed to help the client move from the current situation to one that they would prefer. Transition experiences may make the client feel vulnerable therefore the process may often be built upon the taking of small comfortable steps as the client grows in confidence (but this must be based upon the needs of the client - some like big jumps). Realistic achievable planning and time-tabling are key to success and the Skilled Helper is warm and supportive - helping the client look out and overcome obstacles, turning challenges into opportunities and inspiring the client to mobilise their personal, social and material resources (particularly helpful family members, friends and self-help networks etc).


Stage III action skills include:

Divergent Thinking

Goal Setting

Decision Making

Problem Solving Programme



Knowledge of Resources

Using Knowledge of How Behaviour is Changed

Using Knowledge of How Useful Behaviour is Maintained

Teaching skills & Promoting Learning skills



In addition to Explore, Understand & Act skills evaluation of the therapy process is also important. It can take place at the end of each session as a summarisation, whenever appropriate. It helps the client understand what ground they have gone over, helps them perceive progress they have made and inspires them with understanding on how they want to move forwards.

During our sessions we will use this model in some way to help move you towards your desired goals.

Cathy Stones


Sophie M

"I just can't believe the difference in only 6 weeks.  I now feel that I have the right tools to continue making progress." 

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